Purpose: To review advanced scene browsing features.

Objective: To become familiar with the advanced XSI scene editing windows.

Explorer, Schematic and Browser Windows

Explorer Window

The Explorer Window (8) shows all of the contents of a scene in a hierarchal tree structure. This tree can show objects as well as their properties as a list of nodes that expand from the top root. You normally use the explorer as an adjunct while working in Softimage, for example, to find or select elements. Using the explorer, you can:

  • Display and navigate among various elements.
  • Select scene elements.
  • Set the scope to determine the range of information shown.
  • Set filters to determine the types of information shown.
  • Find objects by name.
  • Sort and reorder elements.
  • Rename scene elements.
  • Create parent/child relationships between objects by dragging and dropping.
  • Add objects to groups, layers, and partitions by dragging and dropping.
  • Duplicate elements by Ctrl+dragging.

To understand what this menu offers create a new scene, and then create a primitive > sphere.

To open an object’s expanded properties:


  • Expand the sphere node
  • Single click the P icon, or double click the Polygon Mesh line item.
  • This will open an expanded properties window, similar to pressing (Enter) on a selected object in a Camera/Orthographic, except now towards the bottom we see the object MoveComponent History.

The Explorer window has many advanced features that we will be utilizing as we progress throughout the curriculum. For now, it is important to understand that you can locate any element of your scene, hidden or not, within the explorer window. To test this:

  • With the explorer window still open and the sphere selected, enter object selection mode, and press (H) to hide the sphere.
  • Notice that the sphere now displays a small yellow H next to the sphere node in the Explorer window. This is a handy way to identify quickly items that are hidden.
  • Press (H) again to toggle the object from being hidden.

Schematic Window

The schematic view (9) presents the scene in a hierarchical structure so that you can analyze the way a scene is constructed. It includes graphical links that show the relationships between objects, as well as material and texture nodes to indicate how each object is defined.

It contains:

  • Camera_Root (null root container)

    • Camera
    • Camera_Interest (where it’s looking)
  • Light
  • Sphere

Note: by default the camera and lights are hidden.

  • Drag+select the Camera_Root, Camera, and Camera_Interest and press (H) to unhide them in our Camera and Orthographic views.
  • Take a few moments to practice selecting objects in your scene via the Schematic window, take note of the camera interest and camera positions.

Similarly to the Explorer Window, the Schematic Window contains many advanced features that we will go over briefly as we continue throughout the curriculum.

In Summary:

Both the Schematic and Explorer windows show the same information, but are displayed differently. Both are extremely useful for organizing a scene, locating elements, adjusting parameters and tracing relationships between objects.

Browser Window

The Softimage file browser (5) is a type of window specifically used to:

  • Search (browse) through scene databases, project directories, preset libraries, and other repositories whose files are required to build a project.
  • Import scene files from databases as well as load scene and project files.
  • Perform file management tasks such as moving, copying, renaming, and deleting files.

Note: It is recommended that you read up on these windows via the Help File for further understanding.

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